NGOs have filed a lawsuit against French arms firms over a sale in Yemen

PARIS (AP) – An NGO group has filed a lawsuit Thursday against three French arms manufacturers for claiming their complicity in alleged war crimes in Yemen.

They have accused Dassault Aviation, Thales Group and MBDA France of selling weapons and equipment to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since 2015, despite widespread evidence that civilians were deliberately targeted.

The lawsuit was filed after the United Nations announced on Thursday that Yemen’s warring parties had agreed to resume a nationwide truce for another two months, giving a window of hope for peace.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, or ECCHR, Sherpa and the local Yemeni human rights group Mwatana, backed by Amnesty International, have announced a criminal case at the Paris Tribunal during a press conference in the French capital.

The Berlin ECHR said French companies could not claim they did not know.

“Since 2015, there have been many international reports from the UN, but also from civil society, documenting systematic attacks on civilians … which cannot be reasonably ignored by any company doing business with the coalition,” said ECCHR co-director Canel to the Associated Press. Catch. .

Fighting in Yemen erupted in 2014 when Hussite rebels withdrew from their northern enclave and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing an internationally recognized government to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia entered the war in early 2015 to try to restore the government to power. The conflict eventually turned into a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Dassault Aviation manufactures and maintains Mirage 2000 fighter jets used by Saudi Arabia. MBDA France and Thales produce fighters, missiles and guidance systems that are mainly used in the Yemeni conflict. The three companies contacted by the AP did not comment.

The war in Yemen has killed more than 150,000 people, including more than 14,500 civilians, making it one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

A spokesman for the Yemeni Association, which is involved in the lawsuit against French companies, said Europe has double standards regarding weapons intended for conflict zones. He referred to the war in Ukraine and the EU’s rapid response to alleged war crimes there.

“Europe, NATO and their allies condemn the use of Russian weapons, but do they condemn the use of weapons stationed in Yemen?” Asked Abdulrashid al-Faqih, the executive director of Mwatana.

He said those who condemn Russia continue to sell weapons and equipment to “those behind war crimes” in Yemen.

“I was sad to see that the victims were not treated equally in Yemen,” he said.

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